Feature Article

May 04, 2017

Consumer Landscape Report Predicts Doubling of Connected Devices by 2021

Ovum, a global research, data and consulting firm, has released its “2017 Trends to Watch: The Digital Consumer Landscape” report, which outlines what it calls the era of the Augmented Customer, and sets for a forecast that the number of connected smart devices in use will double from 7.6 billion in 2016 to 15.3 billion in 2021.

 “Our research shows that the era of the Augmented Customer is upon us,” said Rob Gallagher, Research Director, Consumer Services group, Ovum. “With the number of connected smart devices expected to double thanks to advancements in smart home, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and wearable technology, customer behavior is going to change and organizations need to be prepared. It starts with evaluating their business models and meeting changing customer expectations. Service providers in particular should be investing in content, convenience, and comfort – in the form of data and privacy protection - for their customers.”

The Ovum report explores how the digital consumer landscape will change with the emergence of this Augmented Customer, identifying the following five key trends for this year:

  1. Consumer technology will regain momentum, and companies like Apple, Samsung and others will drive innovation in the smart home, VR, and other emerging technologies that can provide new, more immersive, more personal, and more human-like experiences.
  2. Nine technologies will shape the Augmented Customer’s world. The technologies include digital audio; digital video; virtual reality; augmented reality; creativity tools; social messaging; virtual assistants; smart hubs; and personal devices like smartphones and wearables.
  3.  These technologies will present new channels for service providers and tech vendors to reach customers, and success will depend on creating experiences for the customer that feel effortless thanks to seamless implementations of AI, IoT, Edge Computing, Payments and Security.
  4. The Smart Home will be an increasingly important place, and although devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home will account for only 192 million of the 4 billion smart home devices predicted in the report by 2021, these devices will play a pivotal role influencing how people use voice control, virtual assistants, and ambient computing.
  5.  The Augmented Customer will force concentrations of power into a handful of global consumer technology firms as consumers entrust more aspects of their lives to these technologies, which will give companies the responsibility to defend against hacking, cyber-bullying, and other negative outcomes, while protecting their user’s personal data, privacy and overall digital well-being.



Edited by Alicia Young


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